Monday, December 28, 2015

Obama's Leadership Style: Chessmaster or Pawn - The Atlantic

Donald Trump's bluster combines the nativist faux populism of  Ross Perot and George Wallace.  An irony of the current moment is that after the election of Barack Obama - a shift toward the Republican Party began.  They won Congress, statehouses and governorships.  Yet Obama was re-elected. Meanwhile cultural shifts to the left progressed (e.g. gay marriage), and the power of the presidency enabled Democrats to hold on to the Affordable Care Act despite mean-spirited and selfish opposition.  Now the Paris climate change agreement has been announced, and Iran has backed off its nuclear ambitions.
One of James Fallows readers speaks bluntly about how the vitriol of the last seven years has unleashed ugly expression.  - gwc
Obama's Leadership Style: Chessmaster or Pawn - The Atlantic
by James Fallows

A reader writes in...

Trump/GOP America is not afraid. I think we do ourselves a disservice to credit them with actual fear. And it causes us to misunderstand the challenge we face.
GOP America is afraid of Muslims in the way the Klan and mobs of 20s feared blacks and drinkers and Catholics. Islamic terrorism gives people permission to assert dominance over one of the smallest, weakest groups of in our country -- and fancy themselves bravely standing up for good by shitting on people.
It's a win all the way around. It feels good. Lynchers thought themselves carrying out a noble, hard duty. And they took joy in it. The sentiments on display at the debate are precisely the same. GOP voters eat it up because it feels good. They're not looking for reassurance. They're demanding indulgence.
This follows up on the social permission that electing Barack Obama gave many Americans to indulge racist instincts and bile they long hid. Can't be racist, I live in Barack Obama's America. Inoculation and permission.
I saw this quote in a story about what Americans fear:
"I am very careful taking my small children into large crowds or celebrations - particularly those celebrations of our faith," said one mother."
This is obviously horseshit. And even if it's not, it might as well be. The line between honest delusion and indulgent drama barely exists.
The point of this is that we won't convince people not to act on the permission that their bullshit "fear" gives them. We have to revoke the permission to enjoy how this makes them feel. And that takes confrontation, not reassurance. We just have to beat them.
That's our challenge.

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